Carbon-supported co-pyridine as non-platinum cathode catalyst for alkaline membrane fuel cells

Jinli Qiao, Li Xu, Yuyu Liu, Pan Xu, Jingjing Shi, Shiyao Liu, Binglun Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Development of high-performance cost-effective electrocatalyts that can replace Pt catalyst have been a central theme in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) including direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). Here we show that carbon-supported pyridine-cobalt nanoparticles (CoPy/C) can generate a high catalytic activity toward the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The catalysts are synthesized using cobalt sulfate heptahydrate (CoSO4· 7H2O) and pyridine (Py) as the Co and N precursors via a solid state reaction by heat-treatment in an inert atmosphere at 800 °C. In particular, the ORR kinetics on these catalyst materials are evaluated using rotating disk electrode (RDE) technique in electrolytes of various KOH concentrations, ranging from 0.05 to 12 M. The Koutecky-Levich equation analyses indicate that the transferred electron number, n, per oxygen molecule on CoPy/C electrode depend on the low negative ovevrpotentials in low KOH concentrations, whereas in high KOH concentrations the values of n for oxygen reduction depend on the high negative overpotentials, and varies between 3.5 and 4.0. These catalysts exhibit the superior methanol tolerance to commercial 40%Pt/C catalyst, and the negative effect of high KOH concentration is much less for CoPy/C than for Pt/C, suggesting the promising utilization of CoPy/C as electrocatalysts for alkaline polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-305
Number of pages8
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr 30


  • Alkaline concentration effect
  • Carbon-supported Co-pyridine
  • Methanol tolerance
  • Oxygen reduction reaction
  • Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Electrochemistry


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